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[liberationtech] "Ibis: An Overlay Mix Network for Microblogging" by Ian Goldberg

Steve Weis steveweis at
Wed Sep 18 08:50:09 PDT 2013

Ian Goldberg is speaking about "Ibis: An Overlay Mix Network for
Microblogging" today at the Stanford security seminar. The talk is 4:30pm
in the Gates building, room 463A.


Microblogging services such as Twitter are extremely popular. While they
are commonly used by people who wish to reveal their names and friends to
the world, some users, such as activists on the ground, may wish to be able
to post without automatically revealing their identities or locations.  An
obvious approach is to use a low-latency anonymity system, such as Tor.
However, low-latency systems fall prey to end-to-end timing attacks easily
accomplished by an ISP or a government monitoring clients while also
watching for posts to appear in real time on the microblogging site.

We present Ibis, a high-latency mix network designed specifically for
Ibis is an overlay network: the mix nodes can be microblogging clients that
come online only sporadicly, and the intermediate encrypted messages are
themselves posted as microblogged entries.  We accomplish this through a
novel cryptographic mix message format that uses only 47 bytes of overhead,
while maintaining three-hop, 128-bit security against offline attack.

This is joint work with Paul Hendry.


Ian Goldberg is an Associate Professor of Computer Science and a University
Research Chair at the University of Waterloo, where he is a founding member
of the Cryptography, Security, and Privacy (CrySP) research group.  He
holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, where he
discovered serious weaknesses in a number of widely deployed security
systems, including those used by cellular phones and wireless networks. He
also studied systems for protecting the personal privacy of Internet users,
which led to his role as Chief Scientist at Zero-Knowledge Systems (now
Radialpoint).  His research currently focuses on developing usable and
useful technologies to help Internet users maintain their security and
privacy.  He is a Senior Member of the ACM and a winner of the Early
Researcher Award, the Outstanding Young Computer Science Researcher Award,
and the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Pioneer Award.
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